Monday, January 30, 2012

"Mommy, I need alone time"

Our oldest is 5 years old. Her birthday is not until November but she is already planning out all the things she will get to do when she is 6. She is smart, attentive and very loving. At the same time she is someone that hates to be wrong and will give up easily if she feels she might be failing at something. And like any child she has her moments when life just overwhelms her.

We were visiting L's grandparents when Kaitlyn went to the bathroom with the words "Mommy, I need alone time". To others, in this case her great-grandparents, it was a surprise. But how did we get to this point?

Kaitlyn is at the age where she refuses to take a nap even when she is tired. She actually hasn't napped regularly in a long time. When she first stopped taking naps we still had her do some 'quiet time' in her room for 30 min or so. She didn't have to sleep but had to at play in her room just to get a break and to relax for a bit.

At times when L is not doing well it can get very overwhelming for anyone. Let alone a child that is trying to figure out what is going on and at some level is probably wondering what she did wrong. We encourage her to talk to us, explain to her in ways she can understand that her daddy is sick and that it is not her fault but there are still times when it gets to be too much. Or times when she had a busy day and she is starting to get upset.

We all need times when we need to reset. To be by ourselves and calm down. So about 6 months ago, maybe even longer, I started working with Kaitlyn on realizing when she hit her limit and that it is okay to have alone time. Before we started working on this she would get so worked up and upset that it took a while to calm her down. We are now at a point when more times than not she is able to remove herself and to let us know that she needs that time to herself. Sometimes she will go to her room, other times she will sit in the kitchen or even in the bathtub. She will just sit there or lay down. Relax, calm down and regroup. It has become such a normal part of life for us that I don't think twice about it.

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